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Custom Icons

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If you work at your computer for as many hours in a day as we do, its nice to have a distinctive desktop to look at rather than the straight out of the icon box view that the MacOS provides. One cool way to jazz up your desktop is to play around with the icons on files and folders — a subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless.

Get Info menu

You may have noticed that some applications have fairly nice looking icons for the application file itself, but the folder that the application icon(with its accessory files: ReadMe, Dictionaries, etc.) is stored inside is a generic looking folder.

iconHere is a trick for changing an icon like that generic folder. First, find an icon that you like — there are collections on the Web (we will be providing one at this site in the near future) or perhaps you want to use the commercial icon supplied for that application itself.

Next, click once on the icon that you like (only select it, but do not launch it with a double-click), and then choose File>Get Info (keystroke: Command-I). This will bring up a Get Info dialog box about that file, folder, or application. Click on the small icon picture in the upper left of the Get Info dialog box — a square should appear around the icon showing that it is selected. Now choose Edit>Copy (keystroke: Command-C). Now you have a copy of that icon in your computer's invisible clipboard awaiting you to paste it somewhere.

Get Info dialog box

Now open the Get Info dialog box (File>Get Info or Command-I) for the icon you want to replace. Click on the small icon picture in this Get Info dialog box. Now choose Edit>Paste (keystroke: Command-V) and the icon you like will replace that boring old generic file or folder image. Close all your dialog boxes and Voila! a new custom icon.

iconYour hard drive, trash can, floppy diskettes, etc. are all represented by icons on the computer screen. Remember, you can obtain entire libraries of cool custom icons over the Web from various free software archives. Imagine giving someone a floppy disk with a file, but when they pop that floppy into their hard drive, they get a picture of a cartoon character, or a dinosaur, or your business logo, or whatever. Feel free to play around — this whole custom icon gig is fun and harmless.

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And for any of you who want to design your own custom icons (for example, using your company logo as an icon on files). You can create them in a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop. They need to be 32 pixels x 32 pixels with a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. You just copy them from the Photoshop file and paste them into the Get Info dialog box as described above.



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